Perhaps one of the most essential horse careers and one that requires the most training to become. A horse show veterinarian is an important job which carries the (often) heavy burden of long and unexpected hours.
What You Need
This is a position which benefits from attention to detail, strength of character and a love of the equine animal. Horse doctors have their fair share of sad, scary, disgusting, painful and rewarding moments in the course of their daily work. Show vets may work directly for the host stable (in the case of large shows) or come along with trainers to tend to their specific charges.
A love of education and science, a superb relationship with the equine animal and the ability to remain calm and organized under pressure are essentials for anyone persuing a career as a show vet.
Responsible for the overall health of each animal in their charge, show vets often have a very heavy work schedule during show times. Beyond routine preventative medical care, they are also on call for emergencies and injuries. A show vet may work with a variety of people in addition to the animals including owners, trainers, show management and handlers or grooms to ensure horses are being properly fed, exercised and cared for. This is especially important in the stressful show process and show vets should understand additional preventative medicine for highly-stressed show animals.
Educating horse owners about preventative care specific to show circuits
Attending to routine care & nutrition
Responding to emergency calls and injuries
Troubleshooting illness symptoms & treating problems
Troubleshooting & correcting leg soundness problems
Troubleshooting & advising the farrier on foot soundness issues and disease
Prescribing and administering medication
This is a horse position which does require formal eduction, undergrad work as well as a four year program at a veterinary medical school to start. Then veterinary programs require undergrad students to pass a variety of test to meet admission requirements. Graduates from vet programs must then obtain local licensing (which will vary from country to country & state to state) prior to practicing horse medicine of any kind.
A few places to start if you are interested in a career as a horse show vet.
*Links open in a new window
World Equine Veterinary Association
Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians
American Association of Equine Practitioners
British Equine Veterinary Association
Federation of European Equine Veterinary Associations
Equine Veterinarians Australia
South African Equine Veterinary Association
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